Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Zero Vacation

Odd as it may seem, thousands of people have found solutions to problems or have been able to see their way through difficult choices at the strangest times. You may think that the best solutions to challenges or issues come from spending consistent and dedicated time focused on the issue or challenge in order to find the answer but you may be surprised.

Countless resolutions, to what may have seemed an insurmountable problem, haven't been born through intense brainpower. Take, for example, the person who says that their best thoughts come when they are out walking their dog in the park, or during a long and leisurely shower, or when taking a drive through the countryside. So, why is this?

For those of you who have a burning issue where the solution or tactic eludes you, or when you have been working on a task that just seems to have gotten the better of you and you can't make headway, take a mini zero vacation. A what, you ask?

In simple terms, it is sometimes better to let your mind go to zero where you are not consciously trying to arrive at an answer or solution. In order to take this mini zero vacation, you probably will best be doing something totally different from whatever it is you are attempting to overcome or resolve. Take yourself away from your normal surroundings and engage in an activity that, at least on the conscious level, involves your mind in something pleasurable, different, unusual, or physically challenging. It is when your conscious mind is involved in a different or rewarding activity that allows your subconscious mind to work on whatever it is that is giving you a particularly difficult time.

Going to zero doesn't have to mean going on a long vacation to some remote island or exotic getaway either. Going to zero can be as close as a nearby wind swept beach, or tranquil lake where you can put a line in or go for a canoe ride, or simply skip stones across the water. An activity can be physically engaging like tennis, roller blading, swimming or jogging.

The point is this: give yourself permission to let your mind go to zero where it concerns whatever task, issue, or challenge you face and are struggling with. You may just find what you have been searching for.

Byron Pulsifer, © 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Wish You Enough

Recently I overheard a Father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the Father said, 'I love you, and I wish you enough.'

The daughter replied, 'Dad, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Dad.' They kissed and the daughter left.

The Father walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?" "Yes, I have," I replied. "Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" ."I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is - the next trip back will be for my funeral," he said. "When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?'"

He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone." He paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and he smiled even more. "When we said, 'I wish you enough, we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them." Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good- bye."

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them. Remember to tell your family and friends that you wish them enough! To all of you reading this, I wish you enough.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one."

As William Arthur Ward once said,

"It is wise to direct your anger towards problems - not people;
to focus your energies on answers - not excuses."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Illuminated by Blindness

There was a blind girl who hated herself because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She told her boyfriend, "If I could only see the world, I will marry you."

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages came off, she was able to see everything, including her boyfriend.

He asked her, "Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?" The girl looked at her boyfriend and saw that he was blind. The sight of his closed eyelids shocked her. She hadn't expected that. The thought of looking at them the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

Her boyfriend left in tears and days later had a note sent to her saying, "Take good care of your eyes, my dear, for before they were yours, they were mine."

This is often how our human nature works when our status changes. Only a very few remember what life was like before, and who was always by their side in the most painful situations.

Life is a gift.

Today, before you say an unkind word, think of someone who can't speak.
Before you complain about the taste of your food, think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife, think of someone who's crying out to God for a companion.

Today, before you complain about life, think of those who may have died before their time.

Before whining about the distance you drive, think of those who walk the same distance on foot.

When you are tired and complain about your job, think of the unemployed, the disabled, and those who wish they had your job.

And, when depressing thoughts seem to get you down, put a smile on your face and think: you're alive and still around for a reason.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4 Easy Steps to Control Your Emotions

Our emotions are something that we would all like to have a bit of control over. One minute we can be happy and feel like the world is perfect, the next we can get agitated by the smallest thing and get overloaded with angry feelings.

Despite the fact that our emotions are often random and seemingly hard to control, there are some simple yet highly effective techniques so that you can control them and literally choose your own emotions. The following four steps in this article are going to help you do just that.

1. Focus on the Present Moment

The buddha is said to have been in a constant state of presence, and that's actually why he got the named 'buddha' which loosely means: the awakened one. While living in the moment in a practice that spans from the east and zen-like teachings, it can still be very effective in modern, western society.

I'm sure you can think of some problems in your life, and I actually want you to do that right now. Think of something you would love to fix, something you think is a real issue. The problem with this line of thinking is that we project negative images of the future, and let our past control what is right now. This very moment, this very second, there are no problems in your life. There might be in 5 minutes, there might have been yesterday, but not this very second.

Once you grasp this, you also need to understand that life is always this very second, and it is this moment where your attention should be focused.

2. Monitor Your Thoughts

When I first heard the idea of monitoring our thoughts I thought it was a little crazy. After-all, we are our thoughts, right? Wrong! It is actually very possible to monitor your thoughts, and with a bit of practice you'll realise that our minds are constantly full of negativity, projecting it in the future and thinking about the bad side of every situation.

As a little exercise, see if you can catch the next thought that comes in your head. Close your eyes, relax and watch it for it. You'll notice that it takes a while for a thought to come, even though it is said we are bombarded with 65,000 of them every single day.

Now let me ask you this: if you noticed the thought, which are you? The 'thing' that noticed the thought, or the thought itself? You aren't both. See if you can monitor your thoughts throughout the day and you'll notice some amazing results.

3. Realise Every Situation is Neutral

This will be hard to grasp, but if you monitor your thoughts successfully in part 2, try and notice your resistance to some of the things I am saying. A child being hit by a car is completely neutral, it is what it is. Of course, nobody in their right mind would think of it as a good thing or be happy that it did, but in an overview of the world it is no different to a ant being frazzled by a little boy with a magnifying glass.

Every single situation in this world is neutral, and you can either see it like that, or even put a positive or negative twist on it. You'll find that we tend to think negatively of things most of the time, see if you can be aware of this and either just accept things for what they are or see everything as a positive light.

If the girl getting hit by a car is negative, what is it if that car crash let's doctors become aware of a tumour inside of her that they can treat, but otherwise would not have known about. Is that car crash still negative?

4. Learn to Regain Control of Your Mind

Without practice, we actually have little control of our minds. In fact, we have so little control of our thoughts (which lead to emotions) that we often think that we are our minds. There are two techniques I like to use to regain control of my mind, which allows me to be much more conscious in my living, and much more able to choose to feel positive emotions.

The first technique is meditation. Basically I will sit in a quiet room with my legs crossed and my hands on my lap, and focus on my breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest, hear and feel the oxygen flowing throughout your body. This will be difficult your first time and you'll quickly find yourself 'bored' and 'distracted', but with practice this will get a lot easier and you'll really enjoy doing it.

The second technique is giving an object your full attention. Pick up an object that is preferably very simple and doesn't have any text or words on it. You might choose a stapler, an eraser, a mug or even some glasses. Now, for 5 minutes, see if you can give this object your undivided attention. Don't think about it, don't judge it or label it, just spend five minutes giving it your full attention.

By Glen A

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